Thursday, June 30, 2016

Day 1277: Anyone Can Cook

Our new apartment definitely has more walls than places we've lived previously, so I've been working to make sure our place doesn't look to bare. Many of the other canvas creations I've made have already been featured on Everyday Disney, but I thought I might throw in an introduction to the newest additions!

The first, as you can see above, is inspired by the hit Broadway Musical, Hamilton, which I've really been digging into lately. It sits above my bed in our bedroom, and is actually the largest canvas work I've done to date. It's also the first I did entirely my hand, as to keep things consistent or get the exact look I want, I'll usually do a digital design and use print outs to make sure everything is exact. I didn't do that here, and instead went entirely from a sketch I drew up quickly. I knew when I started plotting for the bedroom that I wanted a quote that would encourage me to keep moving forward and look to the future, and that's exactly what this one does!

The other canvas, as seen below, is now hanging in our kitchen on a wall above our countertop. It was an awkward space, between the cabinets from the kitchen and a door to the bathroom, and it just screamed for a canvas, so it was priority #1. Unlike some of the other canvases, the "Hamilcanvas" included, this one took a while to plan, since we had multiple ideas and had to find the one that was going to fit the best for the spot. We've been calling our apartment "The Cozy Cone," so for a long while we seriously considered something inspired by Cars, but ultimately we went with Ratatouille because it's in our kitchen area.

Keep an eye out over the next month or so for other exciting updates that are somewhat focused on paintings like these! I've got some work to catch up on, but then it'll be full steam ahead before the end of the summer, and I can't wait to get going! 

If you had a canvas, what would you paint on it? 

Have a magical day! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 1276: Dead of Summer

I really love off-season TV shows. Honestly, it almost makes more sense to have a TV show in the off season. Why? Because everyone waiting for their favorite show to return in September or October is sitting bored on their couch, wishing that there was something, anything, on TV worth watching. Of course, the summer also usually means travel for some, and the possibility that viewers won't be at home after all, but it seems that's the risk Dead of Summer is willing to take.

I've never been one for the horror genre. As a kid I would hide behind my Dad's arm and close my eyes tightly even when we passed the Alien section on The Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios, and while my friends venture out to Haunted Houses for Halloween, I'm perfectly content staying at home and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. And yet, there's something about Dead of Summer that keeps a person hooked, whether they love the horror genre or not.

It should be noted that the show isn't your atypical horror anything though. It's more of a mythological thriller, really, and while it's already obviously slow at the start, I'm curious to see where the rest of the season takes these camp counselors. Reviews for the series so far give low ratings, although I personally believe it has more to do with the format than anything else. Created by the executive producers behind Once Upon a Time, Dead of Summer follows a similar format, exploring the individual stories of each character and then compiling those backgrounds into a current event, connecting the individuals together in one overarching theme. The first episode focuses on OUAT Veteran Elizabeth Lail's character, Amy, and introduces us to Camp Stillwater, a Midwestern Summer Camp with more than a few secrets.

The most interesting moment of the episode, however, came in the form of a big reveal from Zelda Williams' character, Drew. I won't give away the surprise, although if you're really interested and don't feel like watching the show, there are plenty of headline news articles today that can fill you in. All I will say is that while we hardly see Zelda in the episode, I'm already looking forward to Episode 4, when her character's backstory will be explored, and I'm sure that it will be revolutionary.

Dead of Summer airs Tuesday nights on Freeform.

If you watched the premiere episode of Dead of Summer, what did you think?

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 1275: Jack of All Trades

One of the most frustrating things about being a photographer is the fact that you can take pictures for other people, but taking pictures of yourself is near impossible. It's not, of course, because even I have worked with self-photography before, setting the camera on a tripod with a time or using a wireless remote, but you ultimately spend more time fussing with the camera in those instances than you do actually taking pictures. So in other words, it works some of the time, but not all the time.

Luckily, my roommate is pretty great at taking pictures after the settings are done and I've shown her a few examples, so for the first time in a while, I have some actual headshots!

Megan and I spent about an hour and a half across the river from our college, taking headshots for both of us, and while it's great to have some new headshots, it was even more fun to explore the area! I spend so much of my time at college in class, doing homework, or now, in the summer, blogging in my apartment, that I rarely get to explore what's actually in the area. Within walking distance we found some really beautiful old buildings, a water fountain that I had way too much fun with, and views of the Fox River that supplied a spectacular background. 

Photography, of course, has always been sort of a side project for my entire family. When my brother was born I got my first camera. I was four, and since then I've definitely worked with more than a few different cameras, both in film and digital. Now I usually borrow my Dad's DSLR to achieve the higher quality shots, whether those be of cats on our front porch or in the form of headshots for my friends. 

The truth is, I actually love photography, and I would love to spend an entire trip or more just walking around taking pictures of everything at Walt Disney World. The problem? I'm usually videoing, which, in the end, is ultimately more important than taking pictures to post on my Instagram. In the matter of one trip I can film anywhere from 2 to 10 videos if I spend my time correctly, and that's not even including the vlogs. 

So I'm left with a choice: to either photograph things or film them. I mean, I can't take pictures and film with only two hands. I'd need three for that, at least if I want to use the DSLR and not my phone. It's a decision that means carrying around two not so light cameras and may ultimately result in only a few pictures or not enough video. In the end I'll probably risk it and bring both though, because there's really no better time to experiment with photography than at Walt Disney World, right? 

Have a magical day!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Day 1274: Adulting

If you're a part of my generation right now, you've probably been struggling with adulting just like the rest of us. If you have no idea what adulting really is, just think of all the chores adults are responsible for that children may not be. I'm talking like making dinner, doing the dishes, watering the plants, getting all the work done, and so on and so forth. The little jobs we actually need to do to survive. 

My laptop, HAL9000, which you've all heard plenty about over the past couple of years, died last week, which led to me waiting for a new laptop, affectionately named Lafayette (yes after the historical figure now prominent in Hamilton). Having a laptop that actually works and stays on for more than 15 minutes at a time is a huge relief, mostly because it means I can finally get work done. HAL dying, however, has created an additional list of blog posts that should have been done a week ago, especially problematic since I'm struggling to catch things up as it is. Plus, I'm leaving on a week and a half long trip to Colorado in just 10 days, so I have to plan for that as well. Long story short, with everything piling up that I have to get done, the realization that adulting is hard is more prominent than ever. 

Luckily, on the other hand, I have Lafayette, and Frank got me that awesome new mug in the picture above to help keep me company while I spend constant days blogging. Even the addition of a new mug like that is enough to help keep me going with these blog posts and videos, especially since there's so many exciting things happening in July! 

I do think I could do without another set of dishes from dinner later tonight though...

Have a magical day! 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Day 1273: Meet Goose

I'm definitely a dog person. I always have been, ever since I was really little and carried stuffed dogs with me around Walt Disney World. And yet, somewhere along the line, I ended up with cats, and lots of them. Barn cats are sort of like rabbits...they just sort of keep increasing in number, and then after a while some of them die off and then it bounces back again and, well, you get the idea. Currently, we have more than we've had in years, although that may have something to do with the eight kittens that currently call our front porch home.

Since one of my goals this summer was to do more photography, which I haven't really done a lot of in the past few years, these kittens were the perfect opportunity to work on some of the new techniques I'm trying. The only problem is they're pretty fast moving, so catching them for a clear shot isn't always the easiest thing to do. Still, I got a couple of good pictures, and while we wait for the youngest kittens to get old enough for decent pictures, meet Goose!

Goose may not be the most conventional name, but I've come up with a lot of cat names over the years, and because she's the only girl in a litter of three, and because her two brothers are both orange and look fairly identical, she got her name from our nickname for the three: Duck, Duck, Goose. Honestly though, she's pretty lucky. Of the cats we have right now, seven of them don't have names. Now, five of them are rather small yet, so names won't be given until we can actually tell them apart, but there's a couple of older ones that have been around for quite some time now. Like this one: 

Where his siblings Kylo Ren and Lassie got names somewhere along the line, he didn't, and honestly I just can't come up with a name. You can only name cats after Disney characters for so long before you run out of names, so instead of trying to come up with something myself I figured I'd see if anyone on the internet has an idea! 

So let me know your ideas for a name for him in the comments below! 

Have a magical day! 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 1272: It Works!

If you think my career in film started a couple of years ago when I made my first real Disney vlog, you'd be wrong.

I honestly don't remember when the first time I picked up a video camera was, but I certainly wasn't very old, and I remember the experience itself pretty well. In fact, my family constantly makes fun of me for the first video I took, since it's mostly just me whipping the camera around our room at Old Key West so quickly that it makes pretty much everyone who watches it sick unless you look away regularly. From there, I obviously gained a steadier hand and some vision as to what makes for a good video. 

That first camera I used, however, is almost as old as I am, and in fact, it's not even the camera in the above picture. It's an old Sony, just like the other video cameras we've gotten over the years (a number that's just rising to four...mostly because we all want to use the camera so much we can't share anymore), but it's also almost as old as I am...20 years old. My parents got it not long before my first trip to Walt Disney World in October of 1996 and it continued to record most of our trips until 2011 when we went to Disneyland, soon after which we decided it was time to upgrade to a new camera. 

We made the decision to upgrade largely because we believed the old video camera had finally died, and so it sat on a shelf in our kitchen, of all places, for the last four and a half years. Until the other night when I explained an idea for an upcoming video to my dad, which would require old footage that we literally haven't looked at in years. So, on a whim, we tried to use the playback on the old camera, and amazingly enough, it worked. 

After watching one of the tapes from my very first trip to Walt Disney World, we decided that maybe it would be best if we updated all this footage, which is actually decent high quality, to digital before the camera decides to die for good. There will definitely be updates and posts focused on memories I find as time goes on, since I'll be starting the transfer of the footage as soon as I get a disc drive to install programming on my computer (something I neglected to look at when I bought a new laptop) and have a system made for transferring old tapes to digital. 

All in all, I couldn't be happier that the camera does indeed work, because really, I was a sassy and adorable child, and who wouldn't want to see that? 

Have a magical day! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Day 1271: The First Time

No, the above picture is not from my first trip to Walt Disney World, but really, at this point, I don't have a lot of pictures from that trip. I do have some video, which I'm hoping to transfer, but beyond that I don't even have any memories of my own. I mean, I was 15 months old, so I don't know how I would remember any of that, but still. 

The truth is, things were pretty different at Walt Disney World during my first trip. The first time I saw Cinderella Castle, and I love to tell this story, it wasn't blue. It was pink. For the 25th anniversary they decorated the castle as a giant pink birthday cake, and the outcome was sort of...odd. When I find the pictures of it I'll be sure to share, but in the meantime you can definitely find some on Google. Just search "Cinderella Castle 25th Anniversary." Actually, the first two trips I took, that's how the castle looked. Can you imagine if I had been older? I probably would have thought that it was supposed to look like that. 

Horizons was still there, as was the Skyway and Dreamflight. Food Rocks was the highlight of The Land, and Dreamfinder was even still hanging with Figment. World of Motion would have just closed for it's transformation into Test Track, and, at the time, a giant Toy Story Parade graced the streets of the then MGM-Studios. In the Backlot, things were drastically different, with an extended tour and residential street still intact. Oh, and Animal Kingdom didn't even exist. 

As I go through that old video I'll be sure to share some of the differences I find with you, and hopefully I'll have pictures and video clips to back myself up! But I do think that looking back to our first trips is sort of an important and fun thing to do. After all, Disney World changes quickly, and sometimes we don't realize just how quickly until we take a look back. 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day 1270: A Day in the [Regular] Life

I've fallen into some sort of a routine these days, relishing in some of the summer sun while also spending most of my day inside at my couch or desk or counter writing blog posts, editing videos, and transferring tapes. Honestly, it's enough to keep me busy, but it does get sort of redundant. Still, it just goes to show how different my life at home is in comparison to when I'm on a trip somewhere. 

Here at home, I start my morning in any number of ways. Sometimes I'll head out for a run, which I'm trying to do more of, and sometimes it'll just start with breakfast and an episode of The Office or some other Netflix show that I happen to be watching. For breakfast I'll invest in some greek yogurt with fresh fruit, or maybe some cereal or a smoothie. And when I'm on the go somewhere right away, I'll be sure to grab a package of applesauce that I can eat on the move. From there, if I've gone for a run, I'll take a shower quick and then get ready for the day, and by the time I'm finished with all of that I'm usually ready to tackle some writing. 

Sometimes "writing" will mean video editing, or brainstorming for new blog posts and videos that I can work on in the future. It's usually something to do with Everyday Disney or the YouTube Channel, but once and a while I do have other work to get done, especially regarding upcoming trips and my soon-to-start last year of college. 

I take a break at one to eat lunch with my roommate, since that's when she has off of work and returns to our apartment. That gives us both a break that's just under an hour before heading back to work. By the time she returns to our apartment again at 4:30, I try to have whatever work I'm doing finished, although that's not always the case. Sometimes I'll end up writing until late at night, or I'll spend the evening transferring another of our home videos. And every once and a while I'll be lucky enough to sit out on our balcony and read a book or watch a movie with my friends. 

And that's about it really, because after that I watch another episode or two of The Office before heading to bed. Not nearly as interesting as when I go to the Disney Parks, and hardly as interesting as during the school year: although this is much less stressful. 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Day 1269: Macaroons

Since I'm lucky enough to not have an extra summer job this summer aside from working on Everyday Disney and making YouTube videos, I've definitely paid attention to the odd collection of goals I'd like to accomplish. I made what I call a "Very Doable Bucket List," which is going pretty well, but aside from that, there's a few projects that have gained my attention.

One of those projects was the crazy idea I had not long ago that I'd like to learn how to make macaroons. Up until this past January, I don't think I'd ever had a macaroon before, and then, of course, I ended up trying one at Epcot and my whole life seemed to change. Suddenly cupcakes seemed much easier than normal, and I felt like I wanted a new challenge. I wanted to learn how to make macaroons.

Honestly, these little cookies seem like they'd be a lot harder to make than they actually are. Over the past couple of weeks I gathered recipes on Pinterest, learning about the two ways to make Macaroons - French and Italian - and contemplated what kind I'd like to make. Of course, because I was inspired by Disney to make these in the first place, it only seemed fair that I took that inspiration one step further.

What you have here is are Strawberries and Cream Macaroons, as is inspired by the Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream Macaroon Sandwich from the France Pavilion. They're much smaller than the ones filled with Ice Cream, but they're definitely delicious and honestly remind me a lot of the ones they serve there. These actually came out pretty perfect for a first try, and I was really keeping my expectations low just in case they burned or completely fell apart or something. Obviously, they didn't, and even my fresh strawberry jam and vanilla bean buttercream came together quickly and easily.

I'd share my recipe, but really I'm not entirely sure I'd be able to figure out exactly what all went into it because I mixed a bunch of recipes and then also changed things to make it my own, meaning that I don't remember precisely what I did. I'm positive this isn't the last time I'll be making macaroons though, so I'll try to include a recipe next time! Now it's off to work on the next project, which I'm sure will appear on the blog soon!

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 1268: A Box of Crayons

While trying frantically to come up with a blog post for today, the thought of my go-to post came up once again: color palettes. I started these back in 2014 after being inspired by paper or something like that, and then decided to continue the series last year when pictures showed up in my TimeHop. Since my laptop completely crashed last year, leaving me without any of the files from the first two and a half years of Everyday Disney, including the color palettes, I thought it might be time to bring the idea back out with some newer pictures!

I've had a lot of Magic Kingdom and Epcot in the past, so this time I tried to do more of Hollywood Studios, with a couple of notable additions from a Disney Resort and Disneyland!

To check out where this rather simple bit of Disney started, read the original post HERE, and then read the follow up HERE! Both feature several very colorful pictures from Walt Disney World, and now that there's three posts like this, I'm certain that they'll continue. Maybe it'll be a yearly thing from now on? I mean, after all, the Disney Parks certainly seem to feature more colors than the world's largest box of crayons! 

Have a magical day! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Day 1267: Castles

Just a quick blog post today to share that the world has finally been graced with a graphic that helps describe the size of the Disney Castles throughout the world! 

While we were talking about Shanghai the other day, I was trying to describe the size of the castle to my roommate and couldn't figure out a good way to describe it. Obviously, the Shanghai castle is the largest ever, but how does it actually stack up against Walt Disney World and Disneyland? 

While I'm honestly unsure where the above graphic originated, it does a great job of showcasing how the castles compare! I actually find it really interesting that the three castles defined as Sleeping Beauty Castle are smaller than both of the Cinderella Castles. And then you just have Enchanted Storybook Castle over there, bigger than all of them. I do suppose it makes me feel a bit better knowing that Shanghai is only a few feet taller than the one I see all the time at Magic Kingdom, but you know, seeing it for myself wouldn't be all that bad either! 

Have a magical day!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 1266: Quoting

I've been doing these Quote Canvases for a while now, and I really believe the hardest part about them is choosing the quote you want most and then finding a design that will fit both the space and the theme. For the above work in progress, it wasn't that difficult, although it took some debating for sure. We knew we wanted something Pixar, and because it was going in our kitchen, we figured that Ratatouille would be a fair place to pick a quote from. 

But with so many great Disney quotes out there, how can you really pick just one? I mean, here are some of the brainstormed quotes that we've discussed for various canvas works: 

"Have Courage and Be Kind" - Cinderella

"All our Dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney

"Adventure is Out There" - Up

"Just Keep Swimming" - Finding Nemo

"Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it." - The Lion King

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Winnie the Pooh

To be far, those were just a few of the options that we've considered over time, and I would love to know what you'd put on a quote canvas like the ones I create! Let me know in the comments! 

Have a magical day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Day 1265: Finding Dory

I don't know how old I was when I saw Finding Nemo for the first time, but in the years since then, I do know that it's made an impact on my life. From the Disney Parks, where Nemo and Friends took over the Living Seas and brought a lost attraction back to life and swam their way on stage in their own musical, to several of my best friends loving the film, to watching it on every single band trip I've ever been on, Nemo is one of those films that seems to be universally loved. That's why, as usual, I headed to theaters as soon as possible to see the sequel, Finding Dory, and this time I made sure to bring my extended family with me.

I don't know entirely what to say about this film aside from the fact that I think we all really enjoyed it (and loved it, if we're being honest here). I heard before seeing it that some were comparing it to Toy Story 3, and saying that it's the best Pixar sequel since then, and I completely agree. For those of us that experienced Finding Nemo when we were young, and then crowded the movie theaters to see Finding Dory, it was extremely fulfilling.

And on top of it all, this film had a great message, as many of the Pixar films do, which left us really wondering what Dory would do. It shed a light on some of the disabilities we may not be able to see, and how they can make a person just as valuable in their own unique way. Finding Dory included a variety of characters, from a Beluga Whale with broken sonar, to Dory with her memory loss, Nemo with his lucky fin, a blind whale, and even a bird named Becky that quickly became one of my favorite characters. It showed us that everyone is worthwhile, no matter what we struggle with, and that if we celebrate our differences, strengths, and yes, even our weaknesses, we really can swim across an entire ocean to find those we love.

If you haven't seen Finding Dory yet, I encourage you to do so! I must say that it's one of the funniest films I've seen in a while, as it had me laughing pretty much the entire time through some really cleverly created jokes and funny moments that could have only been created by Pixar, and I'm excited to see it again at some point in the future!

Have a magical day!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Day 1264: Bringing People Together

I always thought that the Disney Parks were the best way to bring people together, but after spending a week with the kids at this summer's band camp I've realized that there's something even better...and it's still Disney related! 

That's right. It's Star Wars

Over the past week, it occurred to me that there, in one room, there were almost three generations of people and we could all bond over the fact that we love Star Wars. The students worked incredibly hard all week on this piece, which included selections from The Force Awakens, and while they didn't play the entire thing (really they left out some of the best parts), it still sounded amazing, and in complete honesty, it was the piece that improved the most over the week they've been with us. 

That's right. Here's a group of middle school students that have never played together before, and by the end of the week they actually played something that resembled Star Wars. This one piece brought them together in a way that I don't think I've seen before, because they were all just so dedicated to a common goal. 

And when you see people come together like that, that's real magic. 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day 1263: Life Goals

There seems to be this universal Disney Parks Fan bucket list item that we just all hope to accomplish. When you ask the average person where they'd like to travel in the world, especially outside of the United States, they'll most likely return with an answer of somewhere common: Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, or so on and so forth. If you ask a Disney fan that same question, they'll give similar answers, only we won't be going to see the Eiffel Tower.

With the, now increasing, number of Disney parks that are scattered throughout the world, there's a part of all of us that aspires to see each of them in person. There's just something about seeing the uniqueness of each castle, and experiencing the differences between not only the attractions, but the cultures in general. After all, an experience at Disneyland Paris is going to be very different from what you'll find at the newly opened Disney Shanghai Resort.

I've said for years that the number one item on my bucket list is to visit every Disney Park in the world, and that hasn't changed. I don't really care if I'm 90 and they've opened two more...I'll see them all. So far I'm not doing too bad, as I've already been to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, so I have the United States checked off. But that means I still have four other Disney Resorts to visit in my lifetime, and who knows what else could pop up in other parts of the world.

This all comes, of course, because of the new addition in Shanghai, which features the world's largest Disney Castle ever, along with spectacularly designed new lands, and boasts an authentic Disney experience that is also distinctly Chinese. I highly doubt I'll get to see these newest additions for many years, but from the sound of it, the park is already learning as it goes. The gates are packed as we enter the second day of operation, and because of cultural differences, it sounds like safety is going to be a bit harder to enforce (and you thought it was bad at Walt Disney World).

I'm positive, however, that cast members will do their best to make Disneyland Shanghai a safe and magical experience for everyone to set foot there now and forever. I, meanwhile, will continue to sit on my couch, jealous of everyone on the opposite side of the planet. After all, the closest I'll get to Shanghai right now is the Opening Celebration they televised just a couple of hours ago, which honestly sort of disappointed me, but I got to watch the opening ceremony live last night, so I can't complain too much.

To everyone out at Shanghai Disneyland, have a wonderful time, and remember to take lots of pictures for those of us back in the states!

And to everyone stuck at home like me, hang in there. We'll get there someday.

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 1262: Opening Ceremony

When I was a kid, there was a scene near the end of Spaceship Earth with a mother, I believe, more or less facetiming her child a bedtime story. I've actually talked about that scene before, and now that Facetime and Skype have basically become a part of our everyday life, it no longer seems so impossible. But 20 years ago, it was a distant dream that was far from being perfected.

Tonight, on the other hand, anyone from anywhere in the world could watch the opening ceremony of the Shanghai Disney Resort. For me, it's an 13 hour time difference, making us almost exactly on the other side of the world, and yet I was lucky enough to witness a spectacular historic event for both the United States and China.

It's been months since I visited the D23 Expo show floor, where an entire section was carved out to display upcoming attractions to the newest Disney Park, but I can definitely still recall the amazement of myself and those around me as we discovered some of the experiences for the first time, even if they weren't actually in front of us. You could tell immediately that immense thought was put into every element of this resort, and the tagline of "Authentically Disney and Distinctly Chinese" fits perfectly. Of course, I'm still 13 hours away from the actual resort and have pretty much no hope to traveling there anytime soon, but the love and dedication and inspiration that every Disney park, this one included, is made of has been apparent every step of the way.

I'll also be watching the TV special tomorrow on the grand opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort, but for now I'm happy with the presentation, Iger's speech, the beautiful dedication, the culturally enlightening and equally beautiful introductions by Chinese officials, and the delightful performances by some of Shanghai's cast members.

I will say though that the comment about rain on the opening day being a good omen according to Chinese culture kind of gave me hope. I'm positive I'll keep that in mind in the future when it rains on an important day in my life.

And just for the record, it rained here today too.

Have a magical day!